marino's Battlefield Vietnam (PC) review

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Not the Full-Fledged Sequel to 1942 You Want, But Still Great Fun

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Two years and several expansions and mods later, Digital Illusions has released Battlefield Vietnam.  It is a brand new game, meaning that it's not an expansion to 1942...because if you had a game based in Vietnam in 1942 there wouldn't be much going on except maybe some French soldiers walking around.  But even though BF:V is its own game, it's definitely not Battlefield 2.  The upgrades over 1942 are minimal, especially if you include DC as part of 1942, but if you've been a fan for the past two years, you will more than likely enjoy the new terrain and presentation introduced by Vietnam.  
The overall look of the game remains the same, while the geographic location of the game has given the developers a chance to create a truly lush and diverse environment.  The game indeed looks better than 1942, but not drastically.  The level design is a bit more intuitive with lots of hills, creekbeds, and delapidated buildings, which also put a stop (for the most part) to snipers sitting on top of a hill and completely wiping out everyone.  The abundance of foliage and vegetation also allows you to take cover from enemy air attacks even when you're in the middle of nowhere.  The maps are quite large, which can be good or bad depending on how many people you have playing on your server.  If you have less than 16, you might have trouble just finding someone to shoot.  Also, it would've been nice to make the environment destructable especially when you're doing stuff like dropping napalm on a jungle.  Speaking of which, the fog/clip-plane seems to be quite low, making it quite difficult to bomb the area you really want to before you pass it and get shot down for "deserting."  
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If you're new to BF, like I am, the game has a steep learning curve when it comes to the vehicles and simply getting around.  The ground combat is what you have come to expect from period-piece FPS's and is easy enough to jump into.  But regarding the air combat, you're going to crash a dozen helicopters and jets betore you'll have the slightest chance in getting them to do what you want.  I'd recommend hopping on Single Player and toying with them for a while, because once you get the hang of it, joining the utter chaos in the sky can be quite fun.  On the ground, there's a decent selection of weaponry, although it's quite unbalanced.  As a U.S. soldier, there's almost no reason not to take the M60/LAW combo.  Learning curve aside, the gameplay and control are still sharp.     
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Although a little on the gimmicky side, the featured 70's rock tracks are a great addition to the game.  The music further adds to the overall experience of the historical period.  All of the sound effects in the game are up to par with what we've come to expect from Electronic Arts' games.  The voice work is also top-notch.  Barking orders in Vietnamese is kind of cool, and the Vietnamese propaganda give you a small sense of how much of nightmare the place must've been.  From the silence of hiding by yourself in the jungle, to the blaring Creedence Clearwater Revival in your 3-man Jeep, the sound in BFV is great.   
Replay Value 
Okay, the bad news...the single player mode sucks.  The bots have the IQ of a palm tree, which is fitting, since the guy driving the Jeep will probably get stuck on one while revving the engine incessantly.  Enemy drivers don't seem to be any smarter, as they drive right by you since apparently going to the next base is more important than eliminating the competition.  The good news...multiplayer kicks ass, especially if you find a server full of people that know what they're doing.  Obviously the game is intended to be focused almost completely on the online aspect, and that's where you get 99% of the value of the game.  You can get up to 64 players on a server and with about two dozen different vehicles, the madness will last you a while.     
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As mentioned before, if you haven't played Battlefield 1942, there's a bit of a learning curve.  Some type of tutorial would've been nice for new players, since almost all other FPS's have one, and they don't even explain the game types in the manual.  But after some trial and error experimentation, Vietnam is one hell of an online multiplayer game.  With 64 people, you can't even begin to describe the chaos of a game of Conquest involving land, sea, and air combat simultaneously on the same map.  You can't customize the look of your character very much, but you do get the chance to change your kit upon the next respawn, which is nice.  Battlefield Vietnam is quickly becoming the most popular game on the market; the stats on Xfire don't lie.  The game is far from perfect, but it's definitely fun.  

Other reviews for Battlefield Vietnam (PC)

    My favorite FPS for the PC ever 0

    A couple of years ago, I bought a collection of Battlefield games that included and this happened to be one of them.  I heard about this game from my friend who is ironically Vietnamese.  Anyways, this was my first true PC FPS and I absolutely loved it.  No other online FPS has captivated me as much as this one. So basically this is like any other PC Battlefield game in the sense that the single player is meaningless and the multiplayer is where the fun is at.  I was instantly hooked with all th...

    0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

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